Signs of the times
For wry humour, President Akuffo-Addo and Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta can pat themselves on the shoulders for having fallen into good company. The latest president on the global scene to become a target of resignation is the Chinese leader, XI Jinping.
Neither declaration of a lifetime president, nor police brutalities nor erected barriers checked Chinese demonstrations against President XI’s Zero COVID policy across the nation. In the process, a cross-section of demonstrators continues to call on the leader to step down, and that too across China.
However, that is where the comparison ends, because I cannot compare Chinese diligence with Ghanaian slack attitude. Neither can I compare Chinese evaluative attitude with Ghanaian’s mostly obsequious sentiments.
BBC reports that the Zero policy is causing extreme financial distress, especially for small businesses, some of whom have remained unopened for over a year.
The demonstration is a genuine distress call. One may resist Chinese’s nauseating tendency to ravage other nations’ resources, but one cannot deny their good attitude towards work. It is not the same about Ghanaian political and pressure groups calling on leaders to resign.
There is a saying that when you point one finger at someone, four fingers point back at you. The saying forcefully invokes the concept of self-analysis, which can be a humbling experience. The saying aligns with the Biblical exhortation to remove the beam in one’s eyes before removing the speck in another’s eye (Luke 6:42). When one is acutely conscious of one’s shortfalls, one does not berate others for not measuring up to perfection.
The axiom could guide Ghanaian society at this time, but I am going to make a very limited application in this article, referring to the call for the finance minister’s removal for failed performance. That judgement should not apply to the minister alone.
I make a retrospective reference, so that the current Minority Leader could be evaluated for his performance as Minister of Communication. When he was named such at the time, I heaved a sigh of relief and was full of expectation. I anticipated a cracking of the whip to make communication service providers in the country offer real service for a change.
I had listened to the man on radio and TV. His voracious criticism convinced me that he would sanitise the communication service sector, bring providers to book and make them honour their primary mandate to ordinary Ghanaians. I was sorely disappointed.
Currently, communication service provision just about tops exploitative operations in the country. Exploitation has deepened consistently in the last two decades.
Subscribers have been compelled to accept dubious networks, jammed systems which waste funds. Calls cannot be connected yet money would be deducted.
Bad services are imposed on subscribers. Deceit is rife among networks; technological laziness characterises daily operations. Services could be better.
I am not implying that Mr Iddrisu did nothing during his tenure; however, his good efforts did not translate into quality, innovative communication service provision. Granted, that was pre-Dr Bawumiah’s digitisation policy, still no Ghanaian advocated Mr Iddrisu’s removal for poor performance. He completed his tenure; that position no doubt enhanced his merit for the Speaker’s position.
If we evaluated the ministerial performance of the two men, taking into consideration the growth of the economy until 2019, remuneration increases, the handling of salaries and social support during COVID-19 lockdown, would Mr Iddrisu’s performance as Communications Minister balance the scale? I leave the response to his four fingers.
It is good to critique government works, criticise government actions and put pressure on government for certain development, but the raw, politically skewed, sometimes parroting pressure being witnessed in Ghana is simply regressive. Political equalisation retards progress.
Indeed, pressure should be piled to straighten leadership for good governance. Genuine, objective assessment of leadership performance, backed by constructive, humane collaboration legitimises pressure and advocacy groups for sustainable quality leadership and development.
President Akufo-Addo should be amenable to constructive criticism and recommendation without kowtowing to sycophantic, populist sentiments.
The finance minister and his team must leave no stone unturned to be frugal, utilise, especially, agricultural services and exports to rejuvenate foreign reserves to stabilise the cedi. The calls will continue, but hey, look around the world, it is a sign of the times.
The writer is a Snr Lecturer, Language and Communication Skills, Takoradi Technical University, Takoradi.